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Ol' man river.
That ol' man river.
He don't say nothin'
But he must know somethin'
Cause he just keeps rollin along
This past weekend we had the most incredible experience standing in a small stream, the headwaters in the heart of Shasta, California. It may not be a well known tourist attraction but with many of the locals, standing in this stream is not only an every day occurrence, but an every day ritual.
Graelle was on a spiritual mission. She stood on the rocks at the head of this stream and sang a song. She sang quietly so the words were not clear, but the look on her face was the same I wear when singing praise songs to Christ on Sundays. I knew her words were heartfelt even without hearing them. She ended the song by scooping up a few handfuls of water and sprinkling different parts of her anatomy. When she completed this ritual she smiled and waved at us.
"Good morning," I said. "May I ask what you were doing?"
"Sure! I was thanking the mountain for giving us these tears of joys she sheds and wishing the tears to touch the lives of others in her journey."
In doing my research, it seems this is a Native American tradition. One that many spiritualists, Native American or not have found beautiful and adapted them to their own way of life. Graelle continued to explain that these waters have changed her life and so to give back to the mountain, she fills water bottles for those passing through.
As she took our bottles and filled them, my mind began to race. I had never thought about the life of a river but here I was standing in this tiny pool of water, and through the journey of these tears of joy, I knew I was supposed to be here at this moment to hear of this ritual and how it correlates to this journey of mine.
This is where it begins. With something small. Something so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. As the water trickles down and sets out on its passage, it gathers strength in those tributaries it meets along the way.
A trickle that meets with other trickles that helps it to become a stream.
A stream meets with other trickles that have become streams themselves.
Those other streams help it to become a creek.
A creek that meets with other trickles that have become streams that have become creeks themselves.
Those other creeks help it to become a river.
A river that meets with other trickles that have become streams that have become creeks that have become rivers themselves.
This river that met with other trickles, that became streams, that became creeks, that became rivers has now become a sign of hope for all those who partake of its powers.
This river that was once a creek, that was once a stream that began as a trickle is now known as the Sacramento River.
Twelve inches. That's all it is. An opening only twelve inches wide brings forth such power, such might, such ambition, such dreams.
I knew within the first month of my journey that it would not end when I cross into Mexico. There is such a need out there. Much more than I never knew was possible. I set out to be a change in the world. Instead the world has been a change in me.
When I speak to the directors of shelters, transitional housings, and food banks, I hear the same thing. No matter what state, what city, what type of foundation I am at, this is what I hear and the order I hear it in.
"Listen. When you listen it shows you care."
"Spread the word. If more people thought of the homeless as a neighbor down on their luck and not someone who, drunk or high, or is lazy and just needs to get a job then we would have less of a homeless problem."
"Donate. Even if you only have 50 cents, that 50 cents could buy a pair of socks for someone who has none."
Notice money is always last. It isn't that it isn't important because it always is. But a kind look, a kind touch, a kind thought means more than all the money in the world.
I am only one person. I can not do this alone. They all need your help. In order for this journey to work, it needs to go viral. In order for it to go viral, I need your help. If I share the purpose of this journey with 10 people, and those 10 people share it with 10 other people and those 10 people share it with 10 other people. Well the possibilities are endless.
1 person shares with 10 other people
1 person shares with 10 other people, who share it with 10 more people = 100
1 person shares with 10 other people, who share it with 10 other people, who share it with 10 more people = 1000
1 person shares with 10 other people, who share it with 10 other people, who share it with 10 other people, who share it with 10 more people = 10,000
1 person shares with 10 other people, who share it with 10 other people, who share it with 10 other people, who share it with 10 other people, who share it with 10 more people = 100,000
1 person shares with 10 other people, who share it with 10 other people, who share it with 10 other people, who share it with 10 other people, who share it with 10 other people, who share with 10 more people = 1,000,000
I am one voice and with your help as the streams and creeks and rivers join in this journey, we could become the chorus that ends homelessness. Be a tributary. Pass this blog, video and website to everyone you know. Be the change.